Declaring himself “son of the soil,” Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag, in an emotional address, expressed his happiness at visiting his ancestral village of Wajidpur in Patna district’s Punpun block on Sunday.

“I am extremely delighted at visiting my ancestral village. I am the son of the soil. Mauritius is my first home and Bihar is my second home,” a State government press release reported him as saying. The President’s great-grandfather, who left for Mauritius in the 19th century, hailed from Wajidpur.

Mr. Purryag, who was accompanied by his wife Aneetah Purryag and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, praised Bihar as a land infused with life. “Those who went from here to Mauritius made it a habitable and prosperous place. They are our own people. We thank their efforts,” he said.

The relationship between India and Mauritius was that of two brothers, he said. The villagers accorded him a grand welcome and offered him mementoes. The State government also praised Mr. Purryag for fostering pride among Biharis living outside the State and hoped that Bihar take great strides in development.

After the brief visit, the President, his wife and the accompanying delegation left for Delhi.